In this free guide, we’re going to cover the most effective ways to increase the number of Instagram followers and likes you get. If you’re looking to EXPLODE your Instagram growth, and get real IG followers & likes, you’re in the right place.
IG Followers 101: The Basics
Let's take it from the top. Here are a few concepts that you'll want to think through before you get started on your journey to Instagram fame.
You Must Give to Get
You probably got this guide because you wanted follows and likes. Let’s face it- everyone on Instagram does. BUT if you want to get follows and likes, you need to give follows and likes. You look at people who follow and like you too, right? We cover this concept more in our post on The Instagram Followers Hack you Don't Know About.
You don’t want just any followers
Chances are, you’re looking to grow your following for a reason. You probably don't want a bunch of fake accounts following you- you want real, active, Instagram followers.
Regardless of whether you’re an amateur athlete looking for fans, an artist looking for art lovers, or a business looking for customers, you’re looking for a specific audience. Which leads to the next point…
Know your target audience
In this guide we’re going to cover ways to growth hack follows and likes. It’s up to YOU to know who you want those follows and likes from. There are easy ways to get fake followers- Don’t fall for it! Think about what the people in your target audience care about, who they want to follow, what they post, etc. and these methods will give you a huge following of them!
Getting Ready: Is Your Account Worth Following?
The first thing you need to do is to ensure you have an account worth following. The best ways to increase your Instagram growth involve engaging with a large amount of people in your target audience in ways that make them want to like your photos, and follow your account. If your account sucks, they’re not going to do that.
Make sure your profile photo isn’t too busy- it’s a small picture and it’s important to pick something that’s simple and easy to identify. Make sure you can immediately understand what the profile picture is, and how it relates to your brand.
Real people will only follow your account if they want to see your pictures. You’ll only get one shot when someone looks at your profile…. They’ll either like what they see and follow you, or they won’t and they’ll probably never give you another chance.
Make sure your photo’s are high quality and that they match the interests of your target audience. If you don’t have content, consider getting open source pictures to use between posts. You can also repost the pictures from other relevant accounts. Just make sure to give them credit for the picture by tagging them and/or including them in the description with #repost.
Start with the Best Data: Get a Business Profile
Creating a business profile in Instagram is simple- all you need to do is link it to a Facebook business page. Although you might not be a business, it’s likely that you can still create a branded Facebook page (you don’t even have use the Facebook page).
Having an Instagram business profile has the following advantages:
- Add contact info: Add a phone number, address, and more so customers can easily get in contact with you if they want to buy.
- Preview your profile: See your business page how others will when they find you for the first time. First impressions matter!
- Create Promotions: Get your posts in front of more prospects using paid promotions! You can target specific types of people to ensure your post reaches even more potential followers.
- See Post Performance: This is the MOST critical reason for going through the trouble of setting up a business account. You will be able to see how well your posts do, when your followers are most active, and more, so you can ensure you post at the correct times.
By starting off with a business profile, you’ll start collecting extra data that will let you engage with your followers more effectively. This will help you understand when to post content, what content to post, and more, so you can rapidly increase your engagement and audience.
How to Start Growing IG Followers
The High-Level Strategy
Now that you've got the basic pieces of your account set-up for growth, it's time to start growing followers. And the way to grow followers is to interact with a large number of people within your niche.
The goal is to:
1. Find as many people in your target audience as possible
2. If their profile is private, follow them (if they’re a high-quality prospect who is not private you should also follow them)
3. If their profile is public, comment on their pictures, and like their photos
4. Unfollow accounts who do not follow back within 48 hours
We’re going to tell you how to find your target audience and engage with a large number of them in efficient ways. You’d typically grow your Instagram following slowly over time by letting people stumble upon your account. To really hack the number of people on IG that follow you, we’ll push for interactions and explode the number of people that land on your account.
PS- Keep # of Accounts Followed < # of Followers
You want to keep the number of people that your account follows to be minimal. When an account has a small number of followed accounts, and large number of followers, it is considered to be higher quality and it is more likely to be followed.
"Make sure you’re never following more than 2.5x the number of followers that you have. If you hit this maximum you should unfollow any low quality people that haven’t followed you back."
We typically recommend that you unfollow people who do not follow you back in 24-48 hours. If you want to get aggressive, do 24 hour intervals. Giving someone a follow is a big gesture. The more people that you follow, the more people that will follow you back.
Be Prepared: How to Quickly Engage
The game plan is to find as many people in your audience as possible, and interact with them in large amounts. You need to be prepared, or else you'll waste a lot of time with individual interactions. Do the following to prepare:
- Make a comment that would apply to a large number of these users. For instance, when we target fitness users, we use something like “Looking great!” as it could apply to almost any fitness photo.
- Look into apps that let you like a large number of photos. Keep in mind that Instagram can flag your account if you go overboard. Use these sparingly and with caution.
- Give them a good reason to look at your account. This could be an enticing profile photo, or a call to action in a comment. For instance, if you’re going after artists, you can say something like “Great work, we have very similar styles!” so they’re intrigued to see what your style actually is.
- Get in the habit of following and liking things quickly. Don’t think about it too much- you can always unfollow people, and a quick comment or like won’t cause you any harm.
Using Hashtags to Find Followers
Your users are going to post content with certain hashtags. They’ll also be searching for certain hashtags to find content that they like.
First and foremost: Make sure your photos have the correct hashtags. It’s much easier to get people to come to you, so if you’re not using good hashtags, do that first. This section is about going out and finding people who don’t find you. Make sure your photos have hashtags that are relevant to your audience to maximize the number of users who find you.
Picking the right Hashtags
Hashtags can be a bit tricky. Start by trying to use some hashtags on your photos that your users would care about. You can test out hashtags by posting a photo and typing some hashtags into the caption. When you do, Instagram will tell you how many posts have those hashtags. You can also read some of our other articles on using Instagram Hashtags Here.
"We recommend using the most popular hashtags to find users, and using hashtags with 500k-4M posts for your own photos."
Although it may be tempting to go after the largest numbers, keep in mind that those will have the highest amount of competition. For that reason, we recommend using the most popular hashtags to find users, and use hashtags with 500k-4M for your photos so you can stand out.
Finding your audience using Hashtags
Now that you know the most popular hashtags, you can use them to find your target audience. Here is how:
Users Who Post Using the Hashtag
If someone if posting using the hashtag, there’s a good chance they’re in your target market. Depending on quality of the account, you’ll want to like and comment on the photo. This won’t just give you visibility to the person who made the post- it will also give you visibility to other’s who see the post.
Search the hashtag, and look at the people who are posting with it. Give them some compliments on the photo! Also, tell them if you post similar things. This will encourage them to look at your profile and (hopefully) follow you. It will encourage other users who see their post to do the same!
Users Who Like Posts with the Hashtag
The next thing you’ll want to do is look at who liked the post. See if they’re a public profile and do the same thing with any photos that are about a similar subject. For example, if you found a post with the hashtag #fitfam you should see if anyone who liked it is also a fitness fan. If so, like and comment on their fitness photos. You should also follow them if they’re private accounts, and/or quality people.
Other Business or Brand Accounts Using the Hashtag
Although you want real followers, and not companies, this still works for businesses that post using the hashtag. You just don’t have to follow the business. By getting exposure with the comments you leave, you’ll be in a better place to get found by other relevant users.
We’ll get more into stealing competitors followers next.
Using Competitors to Find IG Followers
Chances are, you’re not the only Instagram account like yours on the block. Users typically like getting their content from more than one source, so people who follow your competitors may very well be interested in following you.
You probably already know a few competitors with Instagram accounts. Get in the habit of regularly checking their followers, and engage with the good ones. You can find competitors when you’re searching through hashtags as well.
The best people to target are people who recently liked your competitors photos. These users are more likely to be active on Instagram and respond to comments, likes, and follows. You might even want to follow competitors to see their most recent posts. That way, you can see who liked them quickly, and engage with these users.
"The best people to target are people who recently liked your competitor’s photos. These users are more likely to be active."
Just like targeting based on hashtag, interest in a competitor or the competitor’s content is an indicator of a person you may want following you. Engage as many of these people as possible if they’re qualified and you’ll growth hack your followers in no time! For more info on hacking your competitors’ followers, check out our blog post here.
Using Followers to Find Even MORE Instagram Followers
"Birds of a feather flock together"
What do you see when you sign into Instagram? Your followers content on your feed! It’s very likely that their content is going to similar users. After all- people with similar interests typically group together.
Make sure to regularly interact with your followers. Even though they’re already following you, you should still let them know that you enjoy their content. This will also give you exposure to their followers if your comments are good.
You should also see who liked their posts. These could be very quality people. If they are, use the same strategies to engage these people.
You should also look at any recent followers, and see who follows them. There again, if they recently followed you, they’re probably actively building their account. They have probably found others who are actively looking to follow new accounts. Look at the new followers they have, and engage them if they’re in your target audience. This is a great way to ensure you get active Instagram followers.
Although it can seem self-serving to be hacking your Instagram growth, it’s more or less about being as many places at once. By doing this, you’ll ensure the highest number of people find your account, and follow it. Make sure to constantly look at your followers’ content, who likes it, and who is following them. Their followers will probably be great people to engage with, and will be likely to be your followers too!
Although it can seem intimidating at first, you'll be well on your way to Instafame if you follow the tips and tricks in this article. We've been using these tactics for years to help our clients increase followers, and have found that you can grow up to 150 followers a day by optimizing this process.
We hope you found this helpful! Feel free to share this guide with others who want to grow followers, sales, etc. on Instagram.